Valtteri Bottas returned to the top of the timesheets during final practice for Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix, with teammate Lewis Hamilton only fifth.

Bottas was 0.229s faster than the McLaren duo of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, while Daniel Ricciardo set a time good enough for fourth before his Renault broke down with a suspected fuel pump failure to cause a late red flag.

Reigning world champion Hamilton was only fifth in the FP3 order after backing out of his first flying effort due to a scruffy first sector, before only marginally improving on his second Soft tyre run.

Hamilton also had to contend with traffic on a flying lap as he approached the Parabolica and was forced to take avoiding action to avoid an accident at high-speed.

Despite the drivers being told they will be required to observe a maximum lap time in order to ensure they do not drive unnecessarily slowly, traffic was still an issue in final practice.

Norris was also left unhappy after getting blocked by Charles Leclerc at the Parabolica while on a flying lap, asking over team radio: “Do they not know what blue flags are?” Leclerc waved his hand in an apologetic manner after the incident.

The FIA has enforced the procedure for final practice and qualifying in a bid to avoid a repeat of the farcical scenes in Q3 last year when drivers tripped over each other trying not to be the first in the slipstreaming queue, with many failing to set a lap time as a result.

Max Verstappen was nearly four-tenths down in his Red Bull as he outpaced teammate Alex Albon to set the sixth-fastest time.

The Red Bulls finished ahead of Esteban Ocon’s Renault and the Racing Point pairing of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez, who rounded out the top 10 during a tight final 60 minutes of practice running before qualifying.

Leclerc was 11th in his Ferrari and an improved eight-tenths off the pace, with the Monegasque heading AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat.

Romain Grosjean lapped quicker than Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari-powered Haas, two tenths clear of teammate Kevin Magnussen who took 16th ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

The Williams of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi were split by just a tenth in 18th and 19th, ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi, who propped up the order in his Alfa Romeo.

FULL FINAL PRACTICE RESULTS FOR THE 2020 F1 ITALIAN GRAND PRIX.

 

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